Monday 18 December 2017

Tragic Aoife ‘exchanged 260 messages’ with accused on one day before death

Aoife Phelan was found dead in 2012
Aoife Phelan was found dead in 2012
Robert Corbet is led into court during an earlier appearance related to the charge of murdering Aoife Phelan

Natasha Reid

The trial of a 25-year-old man charged with murdering Laois nanny Aoife Phelan has heard details of hundreds of phone messages sent between them in the days before she disappeared.

Robert Corbet of Sheffield Cross, Laois has pleaded not guilty to the 30-year-old’s murder.

However he has admitted her manslaughter between October 25th and November 7th 2012, when her body was found in a barrel, buried in Capoley, near Portlaoise.

The Central Criminal Court has already heard that Ms Phelan had told the accused that she was pregnant with his baby.

The jury was today given her phone records, which matched records recovered from a deleted WhatsApp file on Mr Corbett’s phone.

They detailed hundreds of messages between them in the days before she disappeared, including 260 messages on October 23rd alone.

Mr Corbet told the deceased that he was going to London for the weekend to attend the Christening of the child of a single mother.

“Fair play to her. Sure I know I can do this by myself as well,” she said. “I suppose I have to anyway. You’re never going to be around.”

She then referred to being more than two-months pregnant and said he would have to get his priorities straight.

“You think I’m not trying,” he replied. “I’m trying to get as much money saved up at the minute so I’ll be able to help out. Maybe that’s a silly priority to have.”

There was also mention of possible baby names, with him suggesting 'Roisin’.

The final text messages between them included numerous intimate and sexual references and arrangements to meet that evening. They concluded with a message: ‘I’ll be there in one minute.’

The trial continues before Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan and a jury of three women and nine men.

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